Bronze tripod with three nude female figures by Pierino da Vinci (about 1531-54)


British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

Richard Payne Knight (1751-1824) once owned this tripod, the function of which is unknown. Payne Knight believed that it came from ancient Rome and so it had a natural place in his important collection of ancient bronze sculpture. The collection was bequeathed to the British Museum in 1824, but it was not until the end of the nineteenth century that scholars realized that it was made in sixteenth-century Italy as an exercise in the classical style.Pierino da Vinci, a nephew of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), attained great fame during his short lifetime for his artistic invention and skill. He was greatly influenced by ancient monumental sculpture, which he studied in Rome, and by the work of his contemporary, Michelangelo. Here he has created a sophisticated, highly original piece of table sculpture, to be admired in the round when held in the hand. The beautifully modelled, sensuous nudes appear to dance around the tripod beneath the projecting scrolls. His pen and ink design for this bronze survives in the British Museum. The finished object follows the design very closely.

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  • Title: Bronze tripod with three nude female figures by Pierino da Vinci (about 1531-54)
  • Date Created: 1550/1552
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 12.80cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: cast
  • Subject: flower; fruit
  • Registration number: 1824,0407.87
  • Production place: Made in Italy
  • Producer: Made by Pierino da Vinci
  • Material: bronze
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Bequeathed by Payne Knight, Richard